Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Punjabis must change mindset for development :Verma

Here is an old article that I read in tribune and would like to share with other Sikhs/Punjabis. I think the author has a made a great point about Punjabis:

Punjabis must change mindset for development :Verma
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 21
Just when the government should be concerned more about important, yet less developed socio-economic areas in Punjab, its bureaucracy was more concerned whether there should be a red light atop their vehicles or not.
''It is time that those at the top must act to free the bureaucracy from such official trappings and make them do what they are supposed to do—work in public interest and for the people's welfare''.
These views were expressed by Punjab Governor O P Verma while sharing his experience of Punjab with TNS at Raj Bhawan here today.
Since he frequently travels in the state, interacts with cross-section of the people, gets first-hand feedback on their needs and problems, he, thus, has a clear view of Punjab society, its trappings, failings of the system of governance and where the state is headed for.
Justice Verma believes that politicians and bureaucrats shall have to shift from rhetoric to implementing the socio-economic policies and mitigating the sufferings of the people. Aware of the midset of the Punjabis, he is convinced that unless this is changed and correctives are applied to emerging social negatives, Punjab could be in serious trouble.
Giving an example of ''self-help'' groups that people and panchyats have formed on their own in four villages near Morinda, which he had visited on September 11, Justice Verma said the poor, landless labourers there had proved what all can be achieved if the mindset was changed. Their net-working with the Shivalik Kshetriya Gramin Bank has virtually transformed the incomes and economies of those poverty-stricken poor people and saved many a farmer's life who, burdened by debt, was on the edge of committing suicide.
Such efforts, he stressed, needed to be replicated all over rural Punjab. Yet, despite being a live example, babus and bureaucrats had remained oblivious of this social change. There are 31 groups and 370 members. The Governor had visited the villages at the invitation of Doomcheri sarpanch Gurmail Singh.
Justice Verma is concerned over the lack of education, more so quality education, that was available only in some of the districts. Neither was universal primary education available nor was the play field for all students alike. The gap between the rich, educated, urban parents and poor, uneducated and rural parents was widening. This was a disquietingly worrisome social aspect.
Another observation he shared was about the creeping in of social evils in the Punjab society. He identified these as gender discrimination, practice of sex determination to get rid of the female foetus, resulting in skewed sex ratios, prevalance of cult of dowry, torture, burning and desertion of brides, particularly by NRIs, child abuse, and now caste conflicts in villages.
Justice Verma wondered if such was the mindset of society, how could Punjab be called a developed state? Is the picture of a developed Punjab a mirage, one wondered, listening to him. If individual Punjabis were individually rich, it did not mean Punjab was prosperous. His study of the situation and operative system of governance showed that love for materialistic possessions, hoarding of latest gadgets had made people greedy and corrupt.
Punjab also lacked infrastructure to fulfill ''our needs'' and needs were no longer limited. Needs should enable one to live a decent life, as he put it. There was lot of waste as well in society, and also in government expenses. Both power and individual prosperity were operative in the government machinery, giving rise to corruption.
Today, politicians and bureaucrats were not doing their duty. They were engaged in ''extra curricular activities'', rather than serving the people. ''All states must emulate Kerala as a role model in governance, development, austerity and collective efforts to change'', he added.
Justice Verma said Guru Granth Sahib was a repository of the ''guidelines'' to help an individual to lead the entire life span. Its preachings were presented in precise, concise and cogent manner. But how many have actually read it? Only if one would care to read and practice the preachings of the Gurus and saints included in Sri Guru Granh Sahib, things would be much better and easier for society.


Blogger Pyronik said...

Thank you for your comment :)

Interesting article, I know some people who would be interested.

8:10 AM, October 16, 2005  
Blogger nikunj mahajan said...

dear manjit
sat sri akaal. i have been reading articles on your blog and i find them very interesting.. its amazing that you have been so close to the Punjabi culture even though you r in US for past 20 yrs... tusin taan kamaal kar ditti. i am a Punjabi working in delhi on a non profit website based on the participatory model. we have a section on global india. I would appreciate if you could post some of your articles on the life of Punjabis. we won't be able to pay you but you get a bigger platform to share your views.

the url is : www.merinews.com
take a look.

7:18 AM, May 17, 2006  

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